There are many job opportunities for English speakers in Mexico.
If you are a native English speaker, a common job for expats is a language teacher. Schools often hire native speakers to teach at language centers, private schools, and universities.
Jobs in schools and universities are not limited to teaching English. It’s also possible to teach specialized subjects like biology, business, or math.
Other popular industries for expats are tourism, hospitality, and telecommunications.
In addition, Mexico has branches of multiple multinational companies that may need native foreign speakers to communicate with international partners. Some companies include: Volkswagen, Finsa, Pepsico, Whirlpool, and Huawei.
Speaking Spanish might increase your chances of finding a job in Mexico, regardless if you’re going to be an English teacher or not, especially for communicating with colleagues and supervisors.
There are many job sites you can use to get a job in Mexico including:
There are two visas that allow you to live in Mexico long-term.
temporary resident visa
permanent resident visa
Let’s look at each one more closely.
Temporary Resident Visa
A temporary resident visa allows you to live in Mexico for 180 days to 4 years. After that, you can change your visa into a permanent resident visa.
Here’s a list of popular temporary resident visas in Mexico:
A student visa for those who wish to study at a recognized school or university in Mexico, including exchange students
A retiree visa for those who want to retire in Mexico
A work visa for those who wish to work in Mexico
A family visa for family members of those who hold a temporary visa or a permanent visa in Mexico
The process to apply for a temporary visa is generally the same.
For example, for a work visa, you need to get a job offer from your Mexican employer. After that, you can submit an application for a work permit to the National Migration Institute (INM). You can do it online with the help of your employer.
Once a decision has been made by the INM, you can submit your other documents, such as your passport and your academic certificates.
Then, you will receive a working visa, which allows you to live in Mexico for one to two years. Then, it’s renewable for up to 4 years.
Before you arrive in Mexico, make sure you know the basics of Spanish. Mexico has an expansive territory where every region has its own accent and slang.
Understanding the basics of standard Spanish will make your relocation process easier as an expat in Mexico.
Speaking Spanish is also fundamental to having a social life in Mexico.
If you want to live in a tropical climate, Cancun is a good place.
Not many Mexicans will feel confident conversing in English. Most Mexicans who speak English as a foreign language are young, around 30 years old, on average.
Learning Spanish once you move to Mexico is easy. Your Mexican friends will support and encourage you to learn Spanish. Mexicans are very proud of their culture and are usually willing to share it with you.
Some Mexican slang comes from popular national TV shows and classic movies. Learning Mexican Spanish through movies is recommended for also understanding the culture.
Mexican food is the result of two cuisines — local indigenous cultures and the heritage the Spanish and other European and Asian cultures brought during colonization.
Some Mexican dishes may taste like your own home cooked food.
However, the principal ingredients in Mexican cuisine are white corn (tortillas), tomatoes, green tomatoes, different chilies, and a diversity of spices.
Mexican food is greasy and spicy, which will probably make your stomach upset. You’ll get used to it with time.
Survival tip: Don’t trust a Mexican who tells you that this is not spicy. You will have a different spiciness tolerance. You better try a tiny bite first to be safe.
Healthcare in Mexico is of good quality and affordable. You will find English-speaking doctors in most hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
While it’s possible to visit a public hospital, expats in Mexico still prefer visiting a private hospital because of English-speaking doctors and much less waiting time.
If you are a Mexican resident, you will be covered by INSABI, which is basically public insurance available to all Mexican residents.
However, you will be mainly limited to public facilities only. If you are working in Mexico, you will be covered by IMSS, which is the national social security. It provides better coverage than INSABI and will also cover your parents, your spouse, and kids if they live in Mexico.
In addition to these pharmacy chains, there are individual pharmacies throughout Mexico, but not all of them are trustworthy.
So, if you want to visit them, it’s better to get a personal recommendation from your Mexican friends.
Where to Live in Mexico?
Mexico is a vast country with a variety of ecosystems and industries.
The country is divided by northern, central, and southern states. Keep in mind that each region has a different lifestyle based on the weather and its closeness to the ocean.
You can expect different diets and traditions from one zone to another as well. You can also expect people from the northern states to eat steak every weekend, while in the south, people may eat fish every day.
Guadalajara is popular destination for expats in Mexico.
In the past, it was tricky for expats to relocate to small towns. Nowadays, some villages have local communities of expats that have decided to stay in Mexico and live a chill and hippie lifestyle.
Here are some of them:
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
Puerto Progreso, Yucatán
Most big cities in Mexico have a balance between village and metropolis lifestyles.
One advantage to living in a city is that you’ll find a more open-minded and diverse population.
This means that it could be easier for you to make friends with other expats.
Also, it will be easier to find people who can understand English — or your native language.
If you’re looking forward to living in a big city, you should consider the following growing cities.
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
Tijuana, Baja California
In case you move to Mexico for work, there are zones in Mexico that focus on one industry or another. You can check each area’s leading industry sector to decide on where to live if you also want to work in Mexico.
For example, if you work in the tourism industry, you can live in Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Playa del Carmen are.
If you’re more interested in the automotive industry, you should consider Puebla, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, and the country’s northern states, home to the major automotive manufacturers in Mexico.
Where to Look for a Home?
Nowadays, it’s easy to find a home in Mexico online. If you have Facebook, enter the following (no quotes) into the search bar:
“casas o departamentos en renta + your preferred location”
If you don’t have Facebook, here are a few websites that you can look on:
Before signing a lease, assure which utilities are included in the rent. For example, gas, electricity, and water.
For a single room in a shared house expect to pay US$60 to US$100 for rent with all utilities, including internet and laundry.
Dryers are not often found in a typical Mexican house. Because of the warm weather, people hang their laundry in the sun to dry. You can also drop your clothes off at a laundry service or do it yourself at a laundromat.
Moreover, for one- or two-bedroom apartments you might pay between US$200 to US$360 per month. However, you may be responsible for paying for the gas, electric, water, and wifi.
If you need more space, a three- or more bedroom two-level house can be found for US$500 and up per month. Depending on your needs, you can also rent a house in a complex, which might be more expensive because of the services and amenities such as surveillance and private yards.
All universities have specific requirements, but be ready to present your documents, as you may need them.
Lastly, tuition fees for foreigners could be up to 60 percent more expensive than for locals.
Mexico has more than 30 international airports, but the main airports are Mexico City International Airport (AICM) in Mexico City and Cancun International Airport (CUN) in Cancun.
There are plenty of direct flights to Mexico from North American and European countries, mainly from the USA, Canada, and Spain, but also from France, Germany, and the U.K.
If you’re coming from a South American country, the flight route to get to Mexico may include a stopover in Colombia or Panama.
Another common route to arrive in Mexico is through a flight operated by American Airlines. This tends to be cheaper, although passing through the U.S. may require you to get a transit visa.
Depending on where you’re going to live, you may have to take a domestic flight or a bus to get to your new home in Mexico.
Both Mexico City International Airport and Cancun International Airport offer affordable domestic flights and buses that will get you to your final destination. Volaris and Viva Aerobus are two airlines that provide low-cost domestic flights.
Social and Cultural Life
A few years ago in Mexico, it wasn’t common to have expats as neighbors. Over the years, however, seeing expats in Mexico has become more the norm.
Dancing is a part of Mexican life.
Mexicans show a welcoming attitude toward expats. For some cultures, this could be overwhelming.
That said, it could seem that Mexicans like to invade people’s personal space. However, Mexicans are always open to the needs of expats and respect cultural values that aren’t their own.
For example, when you’re introduced to someone, expect a kiss on the cheek from the other person. This social rule applies for women meeting men and vice versa. In close relationships between men this can also exist.
In Mexican culture, the roles between men and women differ.
You will find some families that embrace a macho culture because they were taught that lifestyle is the correct one. On the other hand, Mexico is a country that is evolving into a modern society where women are becoming equal to men.
Mexicans are friendly and warm people. People are chatty with new people in the neighborhood, especially if you come from a foreign country. Mexicans are curious about other cultures. They may want to ask you about your family, your hometown, and why you moved overseas.
I had a black friend who once told me she felt uncomfortable going outside because people would stare at her. In Mexico, the black community is very small. So, my friend’s good looks caught the attention of Mexicans passing along.
Please don’t confuse this with racism. Within time, my friend found out people were just curious about her.
Some people would kindly ask to take a picture with her. She wasn’t used to that type of attention. This situation is an example of when I say that Mexicans can be overwhelming and curious about other cultures.
Moreover, Mexican people use slang and colloquial expressions to speak in daily and informal scenarios. You may get confused, but they will be pleased to explain the meaning in that specific context if you immediately ask.
It is probable that once you get to know a Mexican person, they will soon invite you to a family gathering. They will stuff you with food because they want you to have the best experience ever and try authentic Mexican food.
Also, Mexicans don’t always accept “no” for an answer. They will try to convince you to eat more food — be prepared.
Mexicans are very patriotic and proud of their culture and traditions. Hence, national days such as Independence Day and Revolution Day are essential. The same goes for Día de Muertos.
Note that Cinco de Mayo is not a holiday celebrated all around the country. And of course Cinco de Mayo is not Independence Day.
Just for context, Cinco de Mayo was when, in 1862, the Mexican army defeated the French army. The Cinco de Mayo battle is only remembered in Puebla, where the battle took place. A commemorative parade takes place every Cinco de Mayo in Puebla. Elsewhere in Mexico, it’s a regular day.
Here’s a list of emergency numbers in Mexico:
911 (just simply tell them you need an ambulance)
Which Documents Should You Bring to Mexico When Moving There?
Administrative affairs in Mexico are quite complex and strict when it comes to the documents you need. Knowing this, you should bring with you all original documents, not just a copy.
Additionally, all the official documents you submit for any visa application must be legalized by the Mexican embassy or via an Apostille.
Besides your passport, you may also need other official documents for future procedures.
Assuming that you want to apply for a permanent residence and a work visa, study in Mexico, or get a driver’s license, you may need the following:
diplomas and certificates
acceptance letter from an academic institution
proof of income
proof of financial solvency
You should always bring the originals with you plus a photocopy. Again: the Mexican administration can be very square-minded and strict.
As for travel vaccines, here’s a list of vaccines you should have when in Mexico: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Typhoid, Dengue, and Zika.
Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water in Mexico?
The tap water in Mexico is not safe for drinking, so you’re better off buying drinking water. For this, you have two options:
You can sign up for a water delivery service. The company will come to your house once or twice a week and take your empty water jugs and leave you with filled ones. This costs between US$2 and US$3 per jug.
You bring your jug to a local purifier and refill it with drinkable water. This is about 30 percent cheaper than the option listed above.
If I had to move to Mexico again, I would start planning one year in advance because I have no kids, pets, or real estate property to take care of back home.
The time you need to plan your move to Mexico will depend on these factors, plus the time it takes to find a job that suits your expectations.
Before relocating to Mexico, I would suggest you consider visiting for a short time and seeking a place to live.
Here is an estimated timeline that I would take.
12 Months Out
Start learning Spanish. If you already speak some Spanish, join conversation groups to improve your skills.
Translate your documents. Foreign public documents must be translated, notarized, and legalized.
Six Months Out:
Get prices for airline tickets and search for the most convenient route to travel to Mexico from your current location.
Decide where in Mexico you are going to settle down — northern, central, or southern. Based on this information, you can start looking for a job in your preferred area.
Start sending your resume and cover letter to prospective employers.
Start your visa application online.
Three Months Out:
Buy your airline tickets and research how to arrive at your final destination. After arriving at the airport, you may need to take a domestic flight or a bus.
Book a hotel where you’re going to stay until you get a permanent address.
You can get into Facebook groups to look for accommodations. Or get into real estate websites to check houses for rent. Check the options and average prices, so when you’re in your destination in Mexico, you know what to expect.